75% of MPs call for increase in HMRC funding

Two out of three MPs believe that government should be clearer on its tax strategy, while three-quarters have called for increased investment in HMRC, according to research from the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) and ACCA

A YouGov study, commissioned by the two professional bodies, polled 103 MPs from both sides of the House of Commons, and found that 63 believe a clear tax strategy should be published by the government of the day during each parliament and then be stuck to throughout the parliament’s duration. Only 16 disagreed with this suggestion.

The professional bodies say that in 2010 the Treasury did publish a ‘corporate tax reform road map’, but the exercise has not been repeated since, and only dealt with one specific tax rather than looking at taxation as a whole.

They point out that since the Finance Bill 2016 was passed, all large companies in the UK with a turnover of above £200m have been required to explain their own tax strategy, but this is not something that the government itself is currently required to do.

Mark Farrar, chief executive, AAT said: ‘AAT has long called for a broad, overarching tax strategy to be published for the sake of all taxpayers – businesses and individuals alike – as well as to help government.

‘Likewise, whilst recognising the great job HMRC does in many areas, stretched resources can contribute towards poor performance in certain circumstances which is in nobody’s interests. This strong political support for both a broad tax strategy and increased investment in HMRC is yet to translate into action – but the benefits to all stakeholders appear clear.’

The study found MPs supported increased investment in HMRC to improve the skills, training and number of both tax inspectors and call centre staff, with 73 in favour and just five disagreeing that more money is required to enable a more efficient and effective service.

Chas Roy-Chowdhury, global head of tax at ACCA said: ‘HMRC’s job is to collect taxes effectively and efficiently, and a tax collection system needs skilled people behind the technology to do this. It’s possible that a tax strategy would help to make things a lot more clear, consistent and efficient – and for individuals and businesses to understand the reasons why they are paying taxes to HMRC.’

Report by Pat Sweet

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